Abusive Mouths in Classical Athens by Nancy Worman

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By Nancy Worman

This examine of the language of insult charts abuse in classical Athenian literature that centres at the mouth and its appetites, in particular speaking, consuming, consuming, and sexual actions. Attic comedy, Platonic discussion, and fourth-century oratory usually set up insulting depictions of the mouth and its excesses as a way to deride expert audio system as sophists, demagogues, and ladies. even if the styles of images explored are very popular in old invective and later western literary traditions, this is often the 1st publication to debate this phenomenon in classical literature. It responds to a starting to be curiosity in either abusive speech genres and the illustration of the physique, illuminating an iambic discourse that isolates the intemperate mouth as a visual logo of behaviours ridiculed within the democratic arenas of classical Athens.

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394–97; and see Sa¨ıd 1979b: 31, who points out that Antinoos’ refus du don effectively brings war into the feast, and thus perpetrates the intermingling of the two settings most opposed in the Homeric world. 217–32). Cf. 299–301). 500, 546–47); cf. Hendrickson 1925: 108. Nagy 1979: 228–31, who compares the Margites, a mock-epic that Aristotle attributes to Homer (Poet. 1448b28–38). See Allen 1912: 152–59 for the collected testimonia and fragments. , again, Melantheus (Od. 219–28); also Eurymachus (Od.

But cf. Bakhtin 1984: 426–27, who argues that the blason in medieval French usage originally denoted praise or blame: “a systematic dissection and anatomization of woman in a tone of humorous, familiar praise or denigration” (427). , Herrick’s “False in legs, false in thighes;/ False in breast, teeth, hair, and eyes” (“Upon Some Women,” 1648 [1963]: 109; and Rochester’s “Her hand, her foot, her very look’s a cunt” (“The Imperfect Enjoyment”), 1680 [1999]: 14, line 18). , mouth, throat, belly, anus).

Sexual innuendo is rarer and more oblique), and more brutal in others, since the piling on of abusive detail aimed at the ruin of one’s opponent. In their disputes over the embassy to Philip (Aesch. 2, Dem. 19) and over whether Demosthenes should be crowned as a public benefactor (Aesch. 3, Dem. 18), the character types that both speakers formulate for each other repeatedly associate the mouth with various types of intemperate behavior. The booming voice of Aeschines encourages his opponent to offer it as evidence of a voracious and low-class type.

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